Salmond vs Darling debate is chance to win undecideds

This is it. Rarely do you get a second chance in politics but Alex Salmond gets one tonight in the BBC’s referendum debate with Alistair Darling. Of course, Salmond is a man accustomed to overcoming tough odds. He is leader (for the second time) of a party which once expelled him for left-wing agitation. In […]

Against complacency and despondency after referendum debate

Pitfalls of media groupthink, example no. 486. Going into STV’s live referendum debate, most journalists and commentators – this observer included – expected a clear victory for Alex Salmond. If Alistair Darling could hope for anything, it would be a close fight or a draw. Mr Salmond was a warm, engaging populist who never let […]

The Team Scotland tartan, the Scottish cringe and the indyref

Couldn’t they just go back to blowing up blocks of flats? The Team Scotland parade uniforms for the Commonwealth Games were unveiled on Sunday and confirmed Glasgow’s determination to win gold in the neck-reddening category. First Glasgow 2014 proposed an uplifting opening ceremony in which the Red Road flats would be blown to smithereens; now […]

Eyal, Gilad and Naftali — a response

How should Israel respond to the brutal murder of three schoolboys? “Proportionately,” The World says. “With restraint.” As if it is the hallmark of a civilised society that it views coolly and dispassionately the slaughter of its young. “They were illegal settlers,” say the fellow-travellers with Palestinian rejectionism. “They shouldn’t have been there in the […]

Isolationists left and right: The new doctrine of avoidance

For America, there will be no going back to the era before September 11th, 2001, to false comfort in a dangerous world. We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness. George W. Bush, September 2003 [1] That pull towards extremism appears to have […]

The two-state solution and its enemies

Danny Danon, the rising star of the Likud, has been brought down to Earth with a bump. After boasting during an interview with the Times of Israel that he and his fellow right-wingers in the government would block any move towards a two-state solution, the Deputy Defense Minister found himself under attack from the opposition while […]

Meet the Palestinians

The events in Syria have captured the world’s attention but it would be regrettable if they overshadowed an important study released last week. The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society, published by the respected Pew Research Center, surveyed social, political, and religious attitudes across the Muslim world. It is an in-depth report worthy of much […]

What’s the point of Israel?

Few countries have achieved what Israel has in its first 65 years. From a war-torn desert has sprung a land of prosperity and innovation; from the brutalities of successive colonial impositions a thriving polity, democratic and disputatious; and from a desperate immigrant refuge a proud Jewish homeland. Achievements, the gleaming medals of past endeavor and […]